UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Monday, January 17, 2005 

UKIP - A statement by Damian Hockney


I am writing to party members about the crisis in UKIP and to warn that the party faces the deepest split in its history. Behind the scenes, senior party members have been trying exhaustively over Christmas and the New Year to stop the party dividing, and to try and make the party leadership respond to the members' concerns.

Most specifically, the demand for a leadership election and the ending of the attacks and smears being made by the party leadership on anyone who privately criticises or asks inconvenient questions.


1 At the Party Conference in October, the leadership tried to force through a motion allowing them to make shabby electoral deals with other parties. Although this was resoundingly defeated, the leadership immediately declared its intention to ignore the vote. Rumours abound of a deal with the Tories.

2 The Party Secretary has written to those organising an Emergency Conference (EGM) making clear that even if they meet all the requirements of the disputed and onerous new rules he will still only call one if they go to court. This is an abuse of members' rights of the highest order. An EGM is designed for emergencies and the leadership has designed a structure to stop the membership speaking or acting. Over 30 branches have so far called EGMs on the motion of No Confidence in the Party Leader.

3 From last June onwards, the leadership have set themselves against using our electoral star Robert Kilroy-Silk. They have done everything possible to sideline him, creating a further situation of alienation and antagonism to add to the others.

4 The failure to stand in Hodge Hill by-election last July was inexplicable and the leadership told one thing to the NEC, and another to Robert Kilroy-Silk, who would probably have won the seat for UKIP.

5 There is a complete failure nationally to commit to researched policies and a full manifesto and spokesmen, using all the talents in the party. Instead, a woeful and disastrous "draft manifesto" had to be hastily pulled from the website just before Christmas after provoking a furore, and members of the party like myself looked on in horror as the party appeared to be saying that it will abandon its committment to immediately leaving the EU if it were elected. Instead the leadership were planning some tortuous and bureaucratic "road map to independence" which looked more liked a one way street to disaster.

6 A complete failure to consult on policy or statements has meant that the party is mocked for inept and incorrect information and press releases. A letter was sent to all London borough councillors last week by the Party Leader without consultation with anyone in London: it made incorrect assertions about the regional assembly here, misunderstood what has happened
in local government in London and damaged our own campaign, based on facts and research, to highlight the nature of the London Assembly. Policy appears to be made on the hoof, with no research, no proper briefing and no grasp of the bigger picture.

7 There has been a public campaign of smears and vilification against any member who speaks out (even privately and internally) against leadership actions. I myself have been described as a "Tory mole". "BNP mole" and "MI5 troublemaker". As you probably know I had to take legal action to stop the worst of these smears.

8 The leadership refuses to speak to members they do not approve of. My colleague on the London Assembly, Peter Hulme-Cross, was elected in June and has yet to hear a word from any of the party leadership. My own attempts to put the past behind us and work with the leadership were rebuffed and never answered last June and July. Not once have my letters, e-mails and telephone calls been returned, even about serious matters like policy and politics.

9 And in another insult, the Party Leader three weeks ago sanctioned sending out hoax e-mails, an admitted series of lies and frauds by the leadership and its staff, involving the party in a scandal which reached the press and which has sullied its reputation and made it look deceitful, dishonest and in the hands of insecure and second rate liars. I ask you to consider the state we are in when the Party Leader sanctions lies and hoaxes arranged by Nigel Farage and his staff, in their arthritic and divisive bid to attack half the party's NEC, of which they are both members. Their claim that they had NEC backing in their hoaxes to smear NEC members is also a lie.

10 The party leadership is now also once more starting discipline cases against members, using underhand and deceitful tactics in pursuing them. False and fraudulent cases which have not been properly brought, but which the leadership hopes will be simply rubberstamped by a cowed discipline panel. A kangaroo court packed with the leadership's employees, a disgraceful undemocratic and shameful situation which the leadership refused to resolve at the recent conference.

There are now rumours on a leadership-sanctioned website ind-uk that the reason for these cases is a belief (erroneous) that if the party expels elected members, these members will lose their seats (at the European Parliament or indeed at the London Assembly where I sit as Leader of the party's group).

11 Similarly, when I wrote privately to ask why the leadership secretly set up false ghost branches in London against party rules, the only reply I had was from Deputy Leader Mike Nattrass who writes, in capital letters, that I am "a wrecker, an MI5 agent and a Tory mole".

How can I tell journalists that the Party Leader will not speak to the Leader of the UKIP Group on the London Assembly? Or indeed to an increasing swathe of the party? How can I tell journalists that the Party leadership will not tell the Leader of the UKIP Group on the London Assembly or any of the staff what the party's policies are? How can I explain to journalists
that the Party Leadership is sanctioning hoax e-mails to find out who might give information to the party's elected representatives, in an attempt to discipline all parties? How can I tell the press that the Party Chairman has now admitted passing information on to a hostile website, informing them in advance that the party was planning to take discipline cases against me
(strictly against all party rules)?

I have fought for three months to prevent a split, through support for staging an EGM and leadership election where all involved would accept the outcome, and shake hands at the conclusion. I have publicly stated that I would abide by the result of any leadership election and Robert Kilroy-Silk gave me his assurance that he would do so also. I relayed this to the Party
Leader and NEC. I also made this clear on Radio 4 Today programme in November.

Irrespective of one's views on Robert Kilroy-Silk's suntan or tv programme, the reality is that it was his influence with the media and his status which ensured that the party's increase from 8 per cent public recognition to something in the region of 80 per cent.

Possibly the worst error of judgement that has been made is to have sidelined him so forcefully and so ineptly. Robert Kilroy-Silk genuinely believes that the Party Leader planned to stand down after the European elections and that there would be a leadership election. Others also say
they were present when such matters were aired.

I cannot stand by and watch the disintegration of the party in this way without putting this on record to you and to appeal to you to write to the Party Leader now asking for a leadership election. I am also asking you to write to him and to make the leadership confirm that they will plan to fight in every seat and that they have done no deals with the Tories.

I have no firm evidence for this, but I believe a deal has been done. And I am very angry. I will only believe the party leadership if they write confirming their intention to honour the conference decision and that they will aim to fight every seat.

If this is not done, then I believe that we face the inevitable split and launch of a second Eurosceptic party. A second party would HAVE to be launched in order to capitalise on what has been achieved already. If the leadership of UKIP is planning a low-key general election, resting on its successes at the European Elections, then a large number of UKIP members will look for another party: only by success at Westminster will we achieve what we want. To get Britain out of the EU.

If UKIP under its present leadership is planning to duck a major battle to win seats at Westminster, then I have to put on record that I cannot support that stance. I believe that UKIP would suffer a grievous blow from the launch of a new party.

Please write to the Party Leader and express your concerns.

Damian Hockney
UK Independence Party Group
London Assembly
City Hall

posted by Martin |11:46 AM
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